Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Monday, 30 January 2017

Canal side run

It's been a couple of weeks since my last lunchtime run in Rotherham and several months since the one before that one. Also I had aborted at least 2 planned runs due to work pressure. So it was very satisfying to get out for a good long run yesterday. The weather was perfect for running: cool but not cold; no wind; nothing worse than a light, misty drizzle. You can't ask for more in January, believe me.

I managed a brisk and even smooth 5.43km taking me to a grand total of 60km in January. I'm VERY pleased with that. 

The selfies below were taken around my turning point at the third lock along. I'm confident that I will be able to run to Sheffield by the time the evenings are light enough later this year. That has been on my "list" of challenges for a few years now.

It was a bit of a sad run at times though. Last time out I met a nice lady out calling for her grandparent's dog Charlie, a lovely old Staffie chap. He had been scared by fireworks the night before and had run off. I advised her on a couple of Lost Dog Facebook pages and watched her search for him over the next 2 weeks. He was found eventually but sadly had drowned in the canal. Poor old Charlie.  Bloody, bloody, inconsiderate fireworks out of season. I hate them. 

Today has been a tough day. A hard day at work, train then bus over to Sheffield for dancing at 6pm, shopping then home for supper and wading through the last, exceedingly crappy, episodes of Silent Witness. I'm really tired so SW is probably all I can manage. I'm also a bit grumpy because Sheffield Wednesday only managed a draw against lowly Bristol City. We went ahead twice and they pegged us back. Very disappointing.

I think as a result of tiredness and having a demanding evening I have eaten quite a bit today. Normal breakfast and lunch but an extra chicken wrap before dancing and then a calorific salmon with noodles and stir fry and sweet chilli dressing. And a couple of glasses of white wine. No regrets cos it's not bad by any means but it's useful to identify danger periods and temptations for future reference.

It's not going to let up any time soon. My dad is having his cataracts done tomorrow (or possibly just one) so I'll be going over to pick him up from hospital and stay with him for a day and a half. I would have stayed longer but with the panto looming I cannot miss rehearsal on Thursday evening. Luckily my sister and her husband are coming over on Friday morning so they'll take over for the weekend. The show must go on and all that.

So - working from home in the morning and hopefully a nice, relaxing run or walk afterwards before heading over to Newark. And now, sleeeeeep!!

Monday morning musings

The scales have very grumpily relented this morning. 2lb off, just. It has been a struggle and I feel as though I have been hovering between 16.6 and 16.8 for AGES. In reality it is only a fortnight but, because I was between those weights before Christmas, it does not feel like "fresh fat". 16.5 WILL be fresh fat and I will be very relieved to see that new number, hopefully very soon.

However, I'm living well, exercising well,  eating and drinking without painful restriction and still dropping weight steadily, although slowly. Surely Shome Mishtake. This is just not me. I seem to be able to make the connection between calories in and out and weight in a way I have never managed before. I'm making choices throughout the day, without resentment, and sticking to them. Day in, day out.  I have stopped looking for miraculous diets where I can eat loads and still drop weight. If I want to eat or drink more I must work more and I still can't do it too often. End of story.

So, I have stopped day dreaming about dropping 4 stone before we go to Australia in December and now expect the drop to be more modest- 2, 2.5 stone would be marvellous. But in doing so I will also be a lot fitter from all the running so I might LOOK as though I have dropped more.

The running is going great guns. I have streaked past 50km in January, am already up to 54.6km and am hoping to fit in a run this lunchtime. 

The pics below are from my dog free trot yesterday morning. It ended up quite gloomy so I felt blessed to have had some sunshine and have seen that amazing skyscape at the bottom.

In other news the Panto is getting very close. I was feeling confident as I had learned my lines and most of my songs. Then the director dropped a bombshell - could I understudy quite a big part as the actress playing it has family troubles (a dying relative I think) and might not be able to make one or more performances. She is very experienced in physical acting and comedy and the part has lots of lines, scenes, comedy and songs. Gonna be a big ask but what can you do?? Line learning for me!!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

The importance of tummy rubs

I caught Minty being all cuddly with her daddy. What a spoilt brat eh? 

It's all about the belly for Minty. She would be happy to have her tummy rubbed for hours on end but she doesn't usually roll onto her back for so long so this was a proper belly rub.

Obviously a good belly rub deserves some love in return so there were kisses and attempted kisses.

Don't worry about Shelagh BTW. She gets more than her fair share of attention.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Hanging on

The scales have grudgingly given me back one of the regained lbs so I've been on 16.7 for a few days now.  I'm hopeful of a little better drop than that but I'd take even the one off, pretty please....

Work is equally grudging but not giving an inch. I'm struggling to keep anywhere near on top of my workload which is beginning to take its toll.  A new locum started yesterday (which required a day of babysitting from me) so I'm hoping that there's light at the end of the tunnel.  I know things must be bad though as one of my colleagues, who is usually the very definition of stoicism, started snapping yesterday.  I know it sounds mean, but I was quite pleased as maybe people will take notice and actually DO something about this.

Morale in our team is pretty low.  We are very much the "Cinderella" team in our department with all the attention and recruitment going to Child Protection.  We just found out that they are to recruit 6 or 7 additional solicitors and, to assist with this task, they are going to be paying them a supplement on the scale pay of 10%!  So, not only will that team be properly staffed, they will also be earning 10% more than me.

I  know that Child Protection is completely important but this does not help with the feeling of being taken for granted and undervalued.  We had a meeting with our relatively new manager and expressed these feeling to him (and credit to him he made his case well and listened well).  His solution is another Peer Review of our team and clients in this hope that this will persuade the powers that be to staff us properly and possibly pay us properly.  This will take time but he's probably right - no-one listens to us - but they might listen to an external Peer Review.

I've decided to take on management anyway and put in for a re-grade.  I'm sick and tired of doing the job of a manager, being the most experienced property solicitor in the Council and therefore having to take on anything even vaguely complicated and attend strategic meetings etc but being paid as a foot soldier.  I can't bear this sort of thing but I came to the view that, if I don't value myself, who will?

I took part in a Peer Review of another team recently and the barrister interviewing me was visibly shocked when I told her what I do for no additional pay.  She also showed me comments about me from senior managers in several teams which were all glowing so this gave me some confidence to go for it.

Anyway, thanks for listening to my work woes.

The positive thing about all this is that I'm managing to keep some semblance of work/life balance. I have struggled in the past, during periods of work strife, to keep up with exercise and sensible eating but this time I am doing it.  Runs, walks, lunch time walks when I'm in the office and no comfort eating either.

I've been for 2 runs this week leaving me  less than 2km short of my 50km target for January so I'm going to try to knock that off tomorrow.

Today we played golf!!  Yay! It was a grey, drizzly and chilly day but not terrible by any means. It was a team of 3 so I played with Rich and our pal John.  We started off really well but subsided somewhat in the middle so our score, while respectable, will probably not trouble the leaders.  But it was great to be out and I played some nice shots which is always pleasing.

I then sat in the conservatory and counted birds for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. The results were fairly unsurprising- loads of sparrows, goldfinches, chaffinches, jackdaws and pigeons.  A healthy band of blackbirds, starlings, robins, blue tits and coal tits but NO greenfinches sadly as they have gone into sharp decline over this last few years. We also had a flurry of excitement in the first few minutes of the hour when a sparrowhawk swooped in and out around the feeders. I couldn't see if it took one of the little birds but it could have done!!

Just because we've been out for a hilly walk all morning, this did not excuse us from dog walking duties so we went out again this afternoon for more hills.  It has been most satisfactory - over 20,000 steps and over 100 flights of stairs.  That is a LOT of extra calories so I think I'll have a couple of glasses of wine this evening!!  Have a great weekend everyone!

See how gloomy it was on the golf course!

But it brightened up a little for our walk round the village.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Good days

It's annoying when the scales don't descend in a linear manner. Disappointing results can be disheartening and I admit that after Monday's weigh in, I was, momentarily, disheartened. I had had a good week and then, nothing. 

However, I know that I have taken in over 4,500 calories less than I burned and have been for 3 runs and 3 decent walks so I know that, if I keep doing what I'm doing, the weight will come off. It's that old dieter's maxim - knowledge is power and my Fitbit is the perfect means by which to acquire knowledge.

Also, what Seren said, weighing daily, as long as you can ignore the odd anomaly, does show a direction of travel. I know that mine is a downward direction. At the end of November I peaked at 17.6 and for 2 days of last week I hit 16.6 so that is an irrefutable drop. 

I just need to keep the faith and keep on doing what I'm doing. It will come. 

So, enough of the over-dramatising a minor setback and on with sensible eating and exercising. I had good days yesterday and today - yesterday 15,000 steps and 90 minutes of dancing and today I went for a 4.5km hilly run. 

Food has been modest too so I was able to enjoy a slice of Christmas cake this evening. I always prefer Christmas cake in January and February. Never fancy it at Christmas - maybe I'm not hungry enough for the richness of it and there is so much other contraband around. But in January the odd skinny slice is just a taste of heaven. 

Our run was challenging today. I chose a new route around Bradwell, one we would normally walk rather than run. It was way more hilly than my current routes but I kept up a reasonable pace and made it through only a little knackered. 

Right at the end of our run the sun peeked through the icy gloom so I stopped for a few snaps. Can you tell that I'm a bit tired??

Monday, 23 January 2017

The power of finger crossing failed.

My weight has bobbed up from 16.6 to 16.8 on weigh in morning. Truly a shattering blow. I may change weigh in morning to Tuesday as Mondays often seem to let me down.


Sunday, 22 January 2017

A plan which came together, just.

Back before Christmas sometime I spotted a Groupon for afternoon tea at Shrigley Hall Hotel and on impulse snapped it up. Surely I could rustle up some pals?? It's always nice to have something to look forward to in gloomy old January. Luckily my school pals rallied round and we managed to pick a date without too much trouble.

Then of course being disorganised I failed to actually book the tea with the hotel. Doh! And then when I finally got round to it, the hotel lost the reservation. Luckily, I eventually got my finger out and sorted it out (with only a few threats to the hotel). 

I then had to sort out a walking route for our pre-tea perambulation.  I had several ideas including a near vertical trek up to White Nancy near Bollington. However my pals are rubbish and indicated that their footwear and thighs were not up to it so I picked a gentler route round the village of Rainow. 

The weather nearly scuppered us too with a series of sharp sleet/hail showers just as we should have been setting off. But it cleared and the walk was perfect. We passed a stunning waterfall at Waulksmill Farm. 

I don't know why Blogger insists that above photo has to be on the left but apparently it is most important and I can't be bothered to fight with it any longer!

It was cold but fun. The views would have been spectacular if it had not been so gloomy and overcast but we chatted and took some pics and admired the scenery and my route worked perfectly though I say so myself!

Afternoon tea was even better! A glass of fizz, lovely sandwiches, scone with jam and clotted cream and dainty cakes and macaron. All small but spot on. I logged every calorie too!! 

Then home for supper - Thai Green curry- and off to the quiz which ended up with a most satisfactory away win. 

All in all it has been a very good day. Now I just need a decent weigh in tomorrow for it to go down as a most satisfactory week. Once again, fingers crossed for me peeps. Lxx

Saturday, 21 January 2017

I just kept on running....

I managed a good 5.75km this afternoon, quite hilly and quite quick too. I'm down to an average pace of 7.35km per hour. Speed is not an exact science with me as I usually run with the dogs so have to put leads on and off and stop to pull them aside when cyclists go past so the number of delays can vary quite a bit. Also I run different routes and some have stiles and gates and muddy terrain etc whereas others are on long tracks and quicker.

All the same, I look at my stats and can see a gradual increase in speed and distance. I think I could manage a 10km now (Beth!) although a flattish one and it would be slow!!

While looking through my stats I noticed something else - this year I have run 39.99 km which is very close to my marathon target from last year. That target went by the by but this time I look like I'm going to ace it in less than a month. It's the consistency which is making all the difference. Once I start hitting a steady 3 or 4 runs each week it is a LOT easier to make myself go out. My chimp doesn't protest as much and it has become just something I do. It also helps that running is (mostly) actually enjoyable now. I am that little bit fitter so it doesn't hurt and I don't feel as pole-axed afterwards.

So, my target for January is to run 50km or more. I have just over a week to finish off the last 10km. I'm genuinely looking forward to it.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Depressed and demoralised

I tried to avoid it but ended up hearing parts of the ridiculous, plumped up, insincere, rabble rousing, nationalistic, ignorant promises which can't possibly be met made by the incomparably awful POTUS.

It is a sad day for us all but especially people who believe in goodness,  kindness, fairness, intellectual rigour and respect. Oh and the planet.

It can only encourage similar sorts of nonsense from our dumbing down quicker than Hello magazine politicians. They will have seen that slagging off experts and factual evidence,  repeating tired slogans and meaningless mantras evidently works so why try to actually do a good job? You may as well do a rubbish job and just keep announcing that things are getting better and no-one will notice the difference.

Oh God - these are the people negotiating our Brexit deal....

So anyway, sorry for the gloom. I will be back with sunny positivity eventually. Here are some pretty pictures taken this afternoon. It was simply spectacular.  I went up to Bamford to walk Rich's dad's dog Wispa. Minty and Shelagh were present but were mostly too busy obtaining and burying sticks to stray into photo range.

We walked over the fields toward Yorkshire Bridge and then up New Road under Bamford Edge. I was intending to walk down the Clough and home but the Clough was closed for some reason. I nearly went down anyway and heard this would have been fine but you can't take risks with 3 dogs. So it was a return trip but at least I could enjoy the view for twice as long!!

This guy did not move, just squawked at me while his lady friend hid behind him.


This week has been much better than last.  One "bad" day so far and even then I was still more calories out than in, just didn't manage my planned 500 cal deficit.  Tuesday was not meant to be a treat day. I had prepared a spicy Spanish sausage casserole for supper and had intended to pop it into the oven before heading into Sheffield for a catch up dance lesson. Off we trotted and reached the edge of town before I remembered that the casserole was not in the oven.  Gah!  

After our lesson - a very pleasing hour learning the quickstep which we have somehow got totally left behind at - we were tired and hungry.  I had no resistance when Rich suggested picking up a supermarket curry on our way home.  So - an unscheduled 1000 calorie meal rather put a hole in my day.  Whoops.

But apart from Tuesday it has all been pretty good.   My exercise has definitely picked up.  Maybe not long sessions but a consistent series of runs and walks interspersed with dancing, panto'ing and just generally moving around in a busy fashion.

So far I have managed 2 good runs (3.6km and 4.3km respectively), and 2 hour plus hill walks so far this week.  I have plans for a really good  stretch out tomorrow and will be meeting up with my school pals for a walk on Sunday so it should, should,  be a good, active week so long as I don't let go of the reins and go crazy with food.

On Wednesday I had an early morning appointment in Sheffield for a dental CT scan preparatory to dental implants which I'll be having in the next month or so.  It was very high tech and space age-y and I instantly received the good news that I have "oodles" of bone in my jaw so will not require expensive and delaying bone grafts - yay!!

But, even more life-affirming was the drive back home.  As I rounded the corner at Surprise View, I could see the remnants of the early morning mist lying pouffily on the valley floor.  I couldn't resist and had to pull over, dice with traffic-related death and snap a few quick pics for your delectation.


The panto rehearsals are going well, albeit it is terrifying how much we have still to do and how little time we have in which to do it.  I'm told that this is always the case and it's always alright on the night.  I suspect, however, that you just do not hear about the embarrassing debacles out of sheer, British politeness.  If ours is one of these, you will certainly hear no more about the matter of the panto on this blog....

I have actual lines now - Woman 3 in an early crowd scene and Sailor 3 on the ship over to Morocco. I seem to be involved in 3 songs - In the Navy, Knees up Mother Brown and Razzle Dazzle and that is not even thinking about the camel dance routine to Madness.  Eeeek.  I tried on my camel trousers yesterday - a perfect fit and sooooo furry- he he he.

Tonight, my beloved Sheffield Wednesday has travelled all the way down to Brighton.  We have been to away games at Brighton several times recently and it is a Friday night as well so we have decided to stay up north this time.  The match is on television though so I will be watching (and living) every kick.  Richard is out this afternoon/evening on a works leaving do so I will be heading over to Bamford to watch the match with our Wednesday pal, another Richard.  You have to have company for these matters!